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Protocol for a gender-sensitised weight loss and healthy living programme for overweight and obese men delivered in Australian football league settings (Aussie-FIT): A feasibility and pilot randomised controlled trial
  1. Eleanor Quested1,
  2. Dominika Kwasnicka1,
  3. Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani1,
  4. Daniel F Gucciardi2,
  5. Deborah A Kerr3,
  6. Kate Hunt4,5,
  7. Suzanne Robinson3,
  8. Philip J Morgan6,
  9. Robert U Newton7,
  10. Cindy Gray8,
  11. Sally Wyke8,
  12. Joanne McVeigh9,10,
  13. Eva Malacova3,
  14. Nikos Ntoumanis1
  1. 1 Health Psychology & Behavioural Medicine Research Group, School of Psychology, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3 School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  4. 4 Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  5. 5 Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  6. 6 Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Education, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
  7. 7 Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  8. 8 Institute of Health and Well-being, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  9. 9 Movement Physiology Laboratory, School of Physiology, University of Witwatersrand, Witwatersrand, South Africa
  10. 10 School of Occupational Therapy & Social Work, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Eleanor Quested; eleanor.quested{at}


Introduction Overweight and obesity are highly prevalent among Australian men. Professional sports settings can act as a powerful ‘hook’ to engage men in weight loss programmes; the Football Fans in Training programme delivered in professional UK soccer clubs was successful and cost-effective in helping men lose weight. The Australian Football League (AFL) is a potentially attractive setting to engage men in a weight loss programme. We aim to develop, pilot and evaluate the feasibility of a weight loss intervention for overweight/obese middle-aged men, delivered in AFL settings, to promote weight loss and healthier lifestyles and determine its suitability for a future randomised control trial.

Methods and analysis 120 overweight/obese male fans will complete baseline physical and psychological health measures and objective measures of physical activity (PA), weight, waist size and blood pressure prior to randomisation into the intervention or waitlist comparison group. The intervention group will receive 12 weekly 90 min workshops incorporating PA, nutrition education, behaviour change techniques and principles of effective motivation. Four community coaches will be trained to deliver Aussie-FIT at two AFL clubs in Western Australia. Measurements will be repeated in both groups at 3 months (post-intervention) and 6 months (follow-up). Outcomes will include programme uptake, attendance, changes in lifestyle and weight variables to inform power calculations for a future definitive trial, fidelity of programme delivery, acceptability, satisfaction with the programme and perceptions of effectiveness. We will also determine trial feasibility and potential to gather cost-effectiveness data.

Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval was granted by Curtin University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC2017-0458). Results will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and reports. A multicomponent dissemination strategy will include targeted translation and stakeholder engagement events to establish strategies for sustainability and policy change.

Trial registration number ACTRN12617000515392; Pre-results.

  • public health
  • protocols
  • physical activity
  • obesity
  • intervention
  • men’s health

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  • Contributors EQ, NN, CT-N, DFG, DAK, KH, SR, PJM, RUN, CG and SW conceived the project and obtained the project funding. EQ, NN, CT-N, DFG, DK, DAK, KH, SR, PJM, CG, SW, JM and EM have made conceptual contributions to project design. EQ is the project lead, and DK is the project manager. DK and EQ developed the intervention materials, with input from all authors. EQ and DK drafted the manuscript and all authors read, edited and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding Aussie-FIT was funded by Healthway (grant number 31953), and builds on the Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme, the development and evaluation of which was undertaken by a research team led by the University of Glasgow with funding from various grants including a Medical Research Council (MRC) grant (reference number MC_UU_12017/3), a Chief Scientist Office (CSO) grant (reference number CZG/2/504) and a National Institute for Health Research grant (NIHR) (reference number 09/3010/06). The development and evaluation of FFIT was facilitated through partnership working with the Scottish Professional Football League Trust (SPFLT). This research was supported by the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway), through research grant 31953.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was granted by Curtin University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC2017-0458).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.